Why exercising is a wonder drug

By Phil “Superman” Johnson, CPT

Yes consistent exercising does wonders for an ailing body. It is considered a wonder drug for many illnesses including cancer.

Heart disease and diabetes is prevalent among people who are overweight and do not exercise. People who eat badly are victims as well for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

My focus on this article is on cancer and cancer survival. I have had many friends succumb to cancer and some even died from it in the end. Many died from prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, etc. My own dad died from prostate cancer.

Cancer is a deadly disease and kills many people! There are ways to prevent and avoid cancer. Exercising is considered a wonder drug for cancer survival.
Another way to combat cancer is consistent exercise. Of course there is never a guarantee that you will never get cancer because you exercise, but I say why not give it a chance. I would rather do everything there is to try and prevent cancer, than to do things that does not protect you against cancer!

Physical exercise is actually great for many things. It helps you get in shape, lose excess fat, gives your body more power, stamina, flexibility, and agility. Exercise helps make you feel good about yourself. According to a growing number of studies exercise helps prevent cancer. Though cancer was previously thought to be largely a product of nutrition and consumption habits, now many researchers believe it can be affected by how much physical exercise you do. A new report shows cancer patients can reduce the risk of side affects by exercising on a consistent basis. According to a report from Macmillan Cancer support in the U.K., 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week is the minimum required to see the benefits. Moderate intensity activity includes exercise such as cycling, aerobics, light plyometric, jogging, weightlifting, beginner body pump classes, and very brisk walking. Even doing household task such as heavy cleaning, yard work, and mowing the lawn.

There are many theories on how exercise can actually prevent cancer. Dr. Inge Haunstrup Clemmensen of the Danish Cancer Society says regular physical exercise helps improve your immune system and this strengthened immune system can stop cancer in its tracks. Just doing simple daily exercises like walking and cycling to get around, can reduce the chances of intestinal cancer. Intestinal cancer is a very deadly and common form of cancer. Dr. Clemmensen also theorizes that more exercise increases the action of the excretory system and the intestines. Dr Clemmensen adds that while harmful material may still be coming into the body at the same rate, there is a faster excretion, and it stays in the body for a short amount of time, which will not be enough time for cancer to take hold.

Even people who smoke have an advantage fighting cancer with exercise! Dr Steven N. Blair of the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research says you are protected by exercise even if you are a smoker. What this means is that even though smoking will still be damaging to your lungs, exercise can help reduce some of those affects. People who exercise even though they smoke also tend to practice other good habits like eating healthfully and staying fit. Most smokers do try to avoid obesity which is a major factor in many forms of cancer. I still suggest that people should still quit smoking for better health. Let’s take a closer look at the many types of cancer that can be reduced by consistent exercise, also cancer survival: Breast cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 40% by doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. Bowel cancer patients’ risk of occurrence and dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 50% by doing significant amounts of physical activity. Prostate cancer patients’ risk of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 30% by doing the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity. After their treatment, all cancer patients can reduce their risk of side effects from cancer and its treatment, which includes depression, fatigue, heart disease, and osteoporosis, by doing the recommended levels of physical activities.

Consistent exercising affects many bodily functions, and those who exercise regularly experience a better immune system, cardiovascular activity, DNA repair and hormone regulation. All these positives from exercise affect the formation of various forms of cancer like prostate, colon, lung, intestinal, breast, and endometrial cancer. Not only does exercise prevent cancer, it also rehabilitates and treats cancer patients. The good news is you do not need to do very high intensity exercises to accomplish that. Moderate exercise is all that is needed. Despite the strong emerging that being physically active could improve cancer patients’ recovery and long term health, a Macmillan online survey of 400 health professionals who deal with cancer patients found that many are not aware of this and most are not talking to their patients about it. Over 50% of the primary care doctors, oncologist, and nurses surveyed do not speak to their cancer patients about the benefits of physical activity.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of the Macmillan Cancer support, says, “Cancer patients would be shocked if they knew just how much benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long term health, in some cases reducing their chances of having to go through the grueling ordeal of treatment all over again.” In conclusion exercising will help keep you cancer free, help treat your cancer, is a wonder drug, and will keep you fit for life!

Phillip Johnson is a Madison Weekly columnist and Certified Personal Trainer working at Empire Fitness on Hwy 72 in Madison. He works with clients of every age and fitness level. For a free consultation call Phillip at (951) 970-7635.